- The ‘Cultural Capital of India’ is the fourth largest metropolis in the country.
- Present town was founded in 1639, by Sir Francis Day, who arrived with east India Company.
- The British East India Company established a fort and a trading post at the small fishing village of Chennai.
- Today, it has emerged as a major industrial and educational centre.
MODE OF COMMUNICATION:
- Airport: Chennai International Airport, Chennai (MAA), 15 kms away from Chennai city centre.
- Rail: Chennai Central Railway Station, Chennai, 5 kms away from Chennai city centre. Chennai Egmore Railway Station, Chennai, 4 kms away from Chennai city centre
- Road: Well connected with NH 4, NH 5 and NH 45.
SIGHTSEEING AT A GLANCE:
FORT & MONUMENTS
Fort St. George San Thome Cathedral Basilica
St. Mary’s Church Sri Parthasarthy Temple Kapaliswarar Temple Wallajah Mosque Thousand Lights Mosque Valluvar Kottam Little Mount St. Thomas Mount
PARK & GARDENS
Snake Park Anna Zoological Park, Vandalur
MUSEUM & AUDITORIUM
Fort Museum Govt. Museum, National Art Gallery & Connemara Library Birla Planetarium
Guindy National Park Pulicat Lake & Sanctuary
Marina Beach & Aquarium V.G.P. Golden Beach
ART & CRAFTS
Kalakshetra Cholamandal Artists Village Dakshina Chitra
FAIRS & FESTIVALS
- Natyanjali Dance Festival
- Dance and Music Festival
- Travel and Tourism Fair
For more information visit https://chennai.nic.in/tourism/
ATTRACTIONS OF CHENNAI
Fort St. George:
- First bastion of British power in India was built in 1640.
- It is a fine example of the 17th century British military architecture.
- The fort now houses the State Legislative Assembly and Council as well as offices of the Secretariat.
- It is housed in an 18th century building within the fort and showcases the history of British in India.
St. Mary’s Church:
- It is the oldest Anglican Church in India, perhaps in entire Asia and the oldest surviving construction of the British in India.
- The church was consecrated in 1680 and houses several outstanding examples of workmanship of considerable historic as well as of aesthetic.
Marina Beach & Aquarium:
- Sandy beach is considered to be the second to be the second longest in the world.
- It extends up to 13 kms and is lined with majestic buildings built in Indo-Saracenic architecture.
- The memorials of Anna and MGR are also located here.
Sri Parthasarthy Temple:
- Ancient temple at Triplicane, near the Marina Beach is one of the 108 sacred shrines of Lord Vishnu.
- Lord Krishna is worshipped here as Parthasarthy or the charioteer (sarthy) of Arjuna (Partha).
- The present structure is said to be about 1500 years old, which makes it the oldest temple structure in the city.
San Thome Cathedral Basilica:
- This landmark of Chennai is one of the three basilicas in the world to be built over the tombs of Christ’s Apostles.
- St. Thomas, an apostle of Christ was buried here in a chapel.
- Present structure was built in neo Gothic style by the first Bishop of Mylapore, Dom Henrique Reed de Silva in 1898.
- Its two spires rise up to 55 metres, dominating the skyline.
- 8th century shrine at Mylapore is dedicated to Arulmigu Kapaliswarar, an aspect of Lord Shiva.
- This biggest temple of Chennai was built by the Pallavas and further additions were done by the rule of the Cholas, Pandyas and the Vijayanagara kings.
- Its fortifications were done by the French in 1672, against the Dutch forces.
- The splendid shrine displays typical Dravidian style of architecture, with beautiful gopurams, mandapams and tank.
- Its imposing seven storeyed Gopuram (tower) over the main entrance rises to a height of 37 metres.
- Magnificent mosque flanked by two minarets with golden domes.
- It was built in 1795, by Muhammad Ali Khan Wallajah, the Nawab of Carnatic.
- Nearby, are the tombs of former Nawabs of Carnatic.
Thousand Lights Mosque:
- Majestic Shia Muslim mosque was originally built in 17th century by the members of the Wallajah family.
- The shrine gets its name from the thousand lamps that used to be lit at twilight in the old mosque.
Govt. Museum, National Art Gallery & Connemara Library:
- It is housed in the magnificent Pantheon Complex built before 1789, in Indo – Saracenic style.
- Museum has sections on geology, archaeology, numismatics, sculpture and armoury.
- The National Art Gallery, nearby has an impressive collection of old paintings and modern art.
- Beautiful memorial honours Thiruvalluvar, one of the most renowned Tamil poet and sage.
- It was built in 1976 and is a replica of a temple chariot in Thiruvarur.
- There are three levels – the lower level has an ‘Aranga Mandapam’ (auditorium), with a seating capacity of 4,000.
- The next level has consists of the Thirukkural balcony, where 133 granite slabs bearing 1330 kurals (couplets) of the Thirukkural are mounted on 67 pillars around the big hall.
- At the third and highest level a 1.5 metres high Kalamkari painted dome crowns the massive 2700 ton sculpted granite chariot.
Guindy National Park:
- It covers an area of 270 hectares near Raj Bhawan and is the smallest National Park in India.
- The park is home to the black buck, an endangered species.
- Other fauna seen here are spotted deer, civet cat, jackal etc.
- It is located next to the National Park and is first of its kind in the in the country.
- Snake demonstrations are also held every hour in a pit near the entrance.
- It is believed that St. Thomas, the Apostle prayed and preached on this hillock, along the south bank of Adyar, near Saidapet.
- Hillock has a natural rock caves where the Apostle is said to have lived for a while, two churches and a grotto enshrining ‘Our Lady of Lourdes’.
St. Thomas Mount:
- Holy hill near the road to the Meenamabakkam airport is about 13 kms from the city centre.
- It was here on a faithful day in the year 72 A.D., the Apostle was pierced to death with a lance by his persecutors.
- The ‘Temple of Art’ is one of the most important schools of classical Indian music and dance.
- It is situated near the Theosophical Society and was started in 1936, by Bharatnatyam danseuse Rukmini Devi Arundale.
- Weaving and Hand-Woven textiles are also the specialised subjects of study at this centre.
- Beautiful beach near Besant Nagar, Adyar is quieter, cleaner and relaxing as compared to the famous Marina.
- Other attractions near the beach are – Annai Velankanni Church and Ashtalaxmi Temple.
- One of the most modern planetariums of India.
ATTRACTIONS AROUND CHENNAI
V.G.P. Golden Beach:
- 20 kms away from Chennai city.
- Beautiful beach resort offers plenty of entertainment to young and the old alike.
- It is also a favourite film shooting location as there are artificial waterfalls, larger than life stucco sculptures and picture post-card settings.
Cholamandal Artists Village:
- 20 kms away from Chennai city.
- Artist’s Village along the coastal road was established in 1965, to promote and develop contemporary art.
- Permanent exhibitions of paintings, sketches, terracotta sculptures, batiks and other crafts are held here.
- It lies 12 kms south of Cholamandal and 32 kms from Chennai overlooking the Bay of Bengal.
- The centre established in 1984, has sections for Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and provides a complete insight into the rich cultural heritage of the South.
- Secluded backwaters at Muttukandu, just 500 metre north of Dakshina Chitra are an excellent site for picnics, boating and water sports.
Anna Zoological Park, Vandalur:
- 35 kms away from Chennai city.
- The zoo spreads over an area of 1,265 acres and is said to be the largest in South Asia.
- It attempts to provide a natural habitat to the several species of animals and birds.
- A rope was and mono-rail, a lion and bison safari park, nocturnal animal house, natural museum and an aquarium are other attractions of this impressive zoo.
Pulicat Lake & Sanctuary:
- 60 kms away from Chennai city.
- This ‘paradise’ for bird lovers covers an area of 500 sq. kms on the Tamil Nadu-Andhra Pradesh border.
- It comprises of mostly a lagoon and stretches of marshy land on the Coromandel Coast.
- Vast brackish water Pulicat Lake attracts a large number of migratory and resident birds like greater and lesser flamingos, grey pelicans, open-billed storks, spoon bills, little cormorants, ducks, teals, terns, gulls etc.
- Boating facilities are also available.
- Reserve forest area has animals like jackals, slender loris, spotted deer, monitor lizard, tortoise, cobra, russel viper etc.